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Topic 5.5. Classification. Why Classify?. How many ‘different sorts’ of living things are there on the planet?. How many species are there in the world?. Let’s start with some classification!. Take 5 minutes to write down ways in which we can classify the students in class today

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topic 5 5
Topic 5.5


why classify
Why Classify?
  • How many ‘different sorts’ of living things are there on the planet?
let s start with some classification
Let’s start with some classification!
  • Take 5 minutes to write down ways in which we can classify the students in class today
  • Key features of a classification key are that it must be clear, consistent, and easily implemented
why classify1
Why Classify?
  • In order to sort out and compare living things, we need to organise them into ‘manageable’ categories
  • A good classification system allows us to make generalisations AND organise our ideas about organisms
  • Classification involves giving every organism an AGREED NAME
  • Classification involves arranging organisms into apparently related organisms
The American Robin


The European Robin


taxonomy is the process of scientific classification
Taxonomy is the process of (scientific) classification

Taxis: Greek for ‘Arrangement or Division’

‘Nomos’: Greek for ‘Method or Law

systems used to classify living organisms
Systems used to classify living organisms
  • Linnaean Binomial Nomenclature system
  • Cladistics (Ancient Greek –Branch)
  • Phylogenetics
the evolution of taxonomy
The evolution of taxonomy…

The Linnaean classification system was created long before scientists understood that organisms evolved. Because the Linnaean system is based on morphology (form and structure) rather than on evolutionary theory

Most biologists are switching to a classification system that reflects the organisms' evolutionary history

  • Phylogenetic tree
  • Cladogram
  • A taxonomic system based on common evolutionary ancestry
  • The Method of choice for classifying organisms, since it recognises and involves evolutionary theory
  • Developed since 1958
  • Any group of organisms are related by descent from a common ancestor.
  • There is a bifurcating pattern of cladogenesis.
  • Change in characteristics occurs in lineages over time.
  • Cladistics introduction
phylogenetic tree
Phylogenetic tree
  • An ‘Evolutionary Tree’
  • Shows inferred evolutionary relationship among species based on similarities/differences in their genetic material or physical appearance
linnaean classification
Linnaean Classification
  • Developed by Carl Linneaus
  • Swedish botanist & taxonomist
  • Is still used today, basis for classification and naming of all new species.
  • Based on physical traits, most of his classifications are still accurate.
binomial nomenclature
Binomial Nomenclature
  • Each species is assigned a two part scientific name.
  • Written in italics
  • If handwritten, underline the name
  • First word is capitalized (Genus): NOUN
  • Second word is lowercase (Species): ADJECTIVE
binomial nomenclature1
Binomial Nomenclature

Homo sapiens

Modern human




Hawksbill Turtle

(imbricate: arrange so that they overlap like tiles)

The genus name can be abbreviated if you have already used the full name in your text


Linnaeus also defined four groups of humans, and the divisions were based on both physical and social traits. By 21st-century standards, his descriptions can be regarded as racist.

  • How does the social context of scientific work affect the methods and findings of research?
  • Is it necessary to consider the social context when evaluating ethical aspects of knowledge claims?
there are seven err actually 8 levels of classification
There are seven (err, actually 8) levels of classification
  • Biological taxonomy is hierarchical
  • As we move from kingdom (domain) to phylum, all the way to species, organisms share more and more characteristics.
  • This system allows us to group organisms while also assigning unique species names.









how is life classified
How is Life Classified?

Pre-1969: Life is classified into 2 Kingdoms: Plantae and Animals

1969 – 1999: Life is classified into 5 Kingdoms: Monera, Protista, Plantae, Fungi, Animalia: using Linnaean Classification System – based on anatomy, morphology, embryology and cell structure

BUT: The Traditional 5 kingdom System does not explain how kingdoms may be related through evolutionary relationships among the kingdoms

the three domains
The Three Domains
  • Karl Woese discovery of Archae
the 3 domains were proposed by dr karl woese
The 3 domains were proposed by Dr Karl Woese


The eukaryote-prokaryote dichotomy was the central dogma of biology. Woese was making a claim of extraordinary scope. He was saying that we had missed one-third of all living things. People did not like that (5). "I hadn't been trained as a microbiologist, so I didn't have this bias" [about impossibility of bacterial classification]. (Woese)

classification is a messy branch of science
Classification is a ‘messy’ branch of science…

Just compare the University of Oxford and the University of Berkeley…

oxford university museum of natural history
Oxford University Museum of Natural History

5 Kingdoms: one prokaryotic, four eukaryotic

kingdom animalia
Kingdom Animalia

Contains organisms as diverse as coral and mice….

from kingdom
From Kingdom…

Linnaeus originally divided living things into 2 (then 3) kingdoms…

  • Animalia
  • Vegetalia (Plants)
  • Mineralia (Minerals, since abandoned)

We now widely recognise FIVE kingdoms:

  • Kingdom Plantae(the plants)
  • Kingdom Animalia(the animals)
  • Kingdom Fungi (the fungi and moulds)
  • Kingdom Protocista(protozoa and alga)
  • Kingdom Prokaryote [Monera] (the euBacteria and archebacteria)
kingdom animalia1
Kingdom Animalia
  • Eukaryotic
  • Multicelluar
  • Heterotrophic
  • Terrestrial and aquatic
  • Sexual (a few are asexual)
  • Motile (a few are non-motile)
kingdom plantae
Kingdom Plantae
  • Eukaryote
  • Multicellular
  • Autotrophic
  • Mostly terrestrial
  • Sexual and asexual
  • Nonmotile

Mosses, Ferns, flowering plants, conifers

kingdom fungi
Kingdom Fungi
  • Eukaryotic
  • Heterotrophic
  • Unicellular and multicellular
  • Mainly terrestrial
  • Asexual and sexual
  • Non-motile

Mushrooms, puffballs, yeasts, rusts, water moulds

kingdom prokaryotae monera
Kingdom prokaryotae (Monera)
  • Prokaryotes
  • Heterotrophic and autotrophic
  • Anaesrobic and aerobic
  • Aquatic, terrestrial and aerosol
  • Mostly asexual
  • Mostly non-motile (one kind are motile)
kingdom protoctistae protists
Kingdom Protoctistae (Protists)
  • Eukaryotes
  • Heterotrophic and autotrophic
  • Unicellular
  • Mostly aquatic
  • Mostly asexual
  • Motile and non-motile

Protozoa, slime moulds, algae

Brown Algae

to species
…To Species
  • A group of organisms which can interbreed and produce fertile offspring.
  • Species are named: Genus species
  • Heliconiuscharithonius
  • The smallest taxonomic group, though many subspecies are recognized.

Might potentially interbreed

if a barrier or other challenge

was removed (ie: distance)

classification of the malaria parasite plasmodium falciparum
Classification of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum
  • Kingdom Protista
  • (Subkingdom) Protozoa
  • Phylum: Apicomplexa
  • Class: Sporozoasida
  • Order: Eucoccidiorida
  • Family: Plasmodiidae
  • Genus: Plasmodium
  • Species: falciparum, malariae, ovale, vivax
classification of the malaria vector aedes aegyptae
Classification of the malaria vector: AedesAegyptae
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Diptera
  • Family: Culicidae
  • Subfamily: Culicinae
  • Genus: Aedes
  • Species: Aegyptae
now your turn ib classification requirements
Now your turn: IB Classification Requirements
  • 5.5.2: List seven different levels in the hierarchy of taxa: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species, using an example from two different kingdoms for each level
  • Scenic Oregon Hierarchical Classification
  • Use the Scenic Oregon I-animal website to write information about an animal of your choice
  • Use the University of Berkeley Website to write information about a plant species of your choice
5 5 3 distinguish between the following phyla of plants using simple external recognition features
5.5.3 Distinguish between the following phyla of plants, using simple external recognition features


  • Clegg, P. 165 – 168
  • Evolution Drop-down menu in the Blog has resources on all major plant phyla

5.5.4 Distinguish between the following phyla of animals, using simple external recognition features: porifera, cnidaria, platyhelminths, annelida, mollusca and arthropodaResources:Clegg, P. 165 – 168Evolution Drop-down menu in the Blog has resources on all major invertebrate phyla

classification of the kingdoms synonyms
Classification of the Kingdoms: Synonyms

One prokaryote kingdom



  • No nucleus
  • Divide by binary fission (asexual)

Four eukaryote Kingdoms





from classification to dichotomous keys
From classification to dichotomous keys…
  • Classification and identification go hand in hand. Once identified, organisms can be classified by placing them in groups that have similar characteristics. To determine the scientific name of an organism, taxonomists use a process of elimination, called keying, to assist them.
  • A dichotomous key is constructed so that pairs of contrasting characteristics are set up in a precise sequence. Each step in the identification process involves the selection of a characteristic from each pair.
now try some yourselves
Now try some yourselves…
  • Dichotomous keys trees of oregon
  • Florida Keys Flowers
  • Simple Tree dichotomous key
wednesday thursday
Wednesday/ Thursday
  • Starting on Topic G3: Impacts of Communities on Ecosystems